Don’t we love underdog stories? Person overcomes obstacles to become influential, wealthy, or at the top of their game. That’s why people like the Olympics — it appeals to the triumph of the human spirit, whatever that means. Or why people love March Madness, where the big-name team is upset in the first round, breaking brackets and hearts everywhere.
But what is glossed over is the 4 a.m. alarm, the injuries, the poverty, the loss of friendships, the discipline. The precursor to success is sacrifice, but no one wants to hear about that.
Isn’t it time to be honest about what’s holding you back from accomplishing your goals? Maybe it’s fear — of success, of failure, of rejection. Maybe it’s lack of confidence — that you don’t have what it takes. Or maybe it’s plain laziness — you lack the get-up-and-go to get it done.
You probably even know what the first step is, but you’re just not taking it. Writers, it’s creating a blog and hitting “Post.” Entrepreneurs, it’s finding your first customer. Students, it’s taking that class that won’t be an “A,” but will ignite something in you.
This is where we give up, isn’t it? Where our minds take over with all of the reasons why we can’t. So we give up like a car in a ditch, wheels spinning, mud splattering everywhere. Meanwhile, it feels like everyone else is passing us by.
I can’t count how many times I’ve felt that mud-splatter about writing. Being creative requires returning, again and again. And it’s much easier to clean out the lint trap in my dryer than to establish creative discipline.
So I became a freelancer, writing marketing content for pay. I received assignments and churned out hundreds and thousands of words. It was easy. I felt a little bit creative — I was writing, after all — but without the fear of rejection. And I got paid.
Freelancing used up my creative energy, though. I discovered I couldn’t produce content for someone else while pursuing my own stuff. I had a choice to make: write for pay or write for real. And I decided it was time to give up the money and the positive feedback and begin writing a book on worry.
The result? A painful, frustrating, impossible experience. I am currently sitting on thousands of words. The manuscript is pretty good, but it’s nowhere near finished. Sometimes I just want to chuck it and go back to writing marketing copy. If I’m honest, because it’s easier.
The turning point is that I have already decided to write seriously. Succeed or fail, this is the path I’m on. I have to keep returning to that decision, second-guessing it, not throwing it out as impossible. But having made that decision once, I find it easier to make it again.
It takes one decision.
Choose to be a person who creates. Be someone who fails and gets back up. Do something that other people may not like.
Say: I am finally going to do this.
Then start. Do something. Take one step today.